Video: Memphis cop speaks out after stopping new 17-year-old father from jumping off bridge
"A few tears rolled down my eyes while his were still flowing. It was like a mother and son ... as if he was my third child, my third son," the officer recalled
By Ashley Silver
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis officer from the viral social media photo that shows her coaxing a distressed 17-year-old away from the edge of a bridge is speaking out.
Officer Tina Shaw responded to a person standing alone at the edge of a bridge overlooking the Mississippi River recently. After speaking with the individual, Shaw learned the 17-year-old was contemplating jumping off the bridge due in part to the stress of becoming a new father.
Shaw spoke with ABC 24 News to offer more details about the incident.
“The Spirit just led me to go there to see what was going on there and who all was there,” Shaw told the news outlet.
Shaw recalled the tense moment when she first saw the teen dangling over the edge: “I got out and at this point, he was already over the ledge. He was hanging over the ledge and then he finally went all the way over. Turned his body facing the water.”
She began a dialogue by asking him what brought him to this point.
“Time was of the essence ... we didn’t want him to make one wrong move,” she said. “I kept asking him, ‘Hey, can I come help you? Can I get you down?’ He was crying and I saw the fear in his eyes. I was telling him about me being a mother. I think that’s what kind of drove him home.”
The 17-year-old told the officer that he was a young father and was worried about his job.
“He was crying when I helped him get down,” Shaw said. “It's like we immediately just hugged each other. A few tears roll down my eyes while his were still flowing. It was like a mother and son as if he was my third child, my third son.”
Shaw, who is a Crisis Intervention Officer, believes her training helped her save the young man’s life.
“People were saying I'm a superhero; I'm an angel. I appreciate all that dearly, I really do. This is something that I normally do every day that kind of gets unnoticed. I'm OK with that because I signed up to be a CIT officer. I just tried to display the transparency of officers versus being a human being.”
Shaw plans to stay connected with the 17-year-old to monitor his progress.